Month: October 2012

The Price should be FREE!!!

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I was watching some TV this morning, like most mornings actually before I set out for work and Micheal O’Leary was being interviewed.

Now its very common for Mr. O’Leary to be the butt of many a joke about service, cost if the passenger turns up late, without the print out and with extra bags… but actually he made a really good case for his airline.  Of course he was abrupt, to the point and a little bit rude.  Unappologetic for what he offers which he summed up as really cheap fairs, better than the competition, any competition and with the best on time delivery of the service. And hey he aint wrong you know.

You can if you like travel by BA or Lufthansa… and pay €500.00 for a service that Ryanair deliver at a 10th of the cost.  So dont be too upset if you break his simple rules and get an extra charge, Ryanair is probably still the lowest cost you’re gonna get offered.

Intersetingly he got talking about price which lets face it is the driver for his business model. He’d like to do air fair’s at €1 yes thats right €1.  He’d make his money out of the other services provided.  No big deal there but he dared to say it on national TV.  Brave? perhaps, Innovative? definately.

Perhaps we should all adopt his spirit of innovation and find innovative ways of funding our business’.

In a recent article in Food & Drink News about my business (I got it for free so long as I gave them a list of suppliers) I made the point that I’m trying to move bakers from old release coating technologies to what we offer.  We give them a cleaner, more reliable surface to bake on.  It cause less pollution and requires much less maintenance.  Overall its a quarter of the cost.  The big problem?  The up front cost is higher.  Our solution offer the baker our high quality, long lasting coating solutions and allow them to make small frequent payments so that they can own and enjoy the benefits long life grease free coatings at the same cost as the old, dirty, high maintenance coatings they previously had.

innovation of service, improvement in the service offering, flexibility in price… these are the reasons why Ryanair and also my business as well as many others are successful.  You just got to be creative in approaching how you leverage your service offering.

Good luck with the creative thinking, creative planning and creative doing.


Secret Yesterday

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Yesterday I was in a meeting with some people who indirectly are the clients of my company on a very secret project. We’ve been working on the project for about 6 months now without any real guidance from the client but yesterday they came to see how we were getting on.

To my surprise they had a quality standard which we were supposed to be working to. Now this was a real surprise because half the job has been completed and the rest is supposed to be finished by early 2013. A joke I think but no, not a joke, I still managed a small laugh to myself through. Of course they were less than pleased that we didn’t have the standard but we passed the audit all the same, good job really it’s a big job half done and they’ll be the ones footing the bill if it isn’t right.

Early on in my management learning I was taught Plan Do Check Act. Simple but effective and easy to recall. Our client seemed to not have learned this and decided on Do Check Plan Act. 

Success is a simple formula, know where you are, know where you want to be, know how to get there and do what you need to do. Plan Do Check Act.

Today I…

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Today I have been married (to the same woman) for 20 years.

The secret to a long marriage is…
Yes I’m happy, I’m happy being married and I’m especially happy being married to my wife

I Fail Ha Ha

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I fail at most things that I try at least once but I’m not certain that makes me bad at what I do.

When I was given my first management Job I had no experience to draw on, no guidance (it was a in at the deep end kind of thing…).  So I had a go and sure enough I made mistakes, plenty of them in fact.  I didn’t get things quite right, I mismanaged people, I spent more money than was budgeted for and plenty more I’m sure.  Nevermind I thought they havent sacked me yet so if I keep on going I’m sure I’ll learn how do it right eventually.  The key was learning.

The biggest mistake I made was not paying attention to my own research before buying a business out of administration.  It all looked okay at first, in fact it was a blast, the fun was endless (that’s if you can call 25 hour days and 8 day weeks fun, but I assure you I really, and I mean really enjoyed it).  For the first 10 months the business was doing well, over 50% of sales from sources the previous bust company hadn’t dealt with.  Success I think!!!!

No actually.

2 months later and company was bust again.  I had to go back to my original company (I kept my job there and they provided the funding out of cash) and see if I was still employed.  The response from the owner…

He sold the company to the 4 Directors, me included.

Success is what you decide it is and the only person you need to be a success is you.

I’m a kind of glass half full person.  But I know people who are glass half empty kind of people.  My response is why’s my glass half empty?  In fact is this my glass?  I thought my glass was bigger than that and fuller, where’s my glass?


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Some time ago I was staying in Bezier, France when I met a couple who had 11 year old twin boys. One boy was miserable, everybody said so and the other really happy.

The father had tested it out when the twins were 10, he refused to believe that the miserable one was as sad as people said. On their birthday he gave the sad twin the best toys and games he could get. For the second happy twin he filled his room with horse dung.

On the morning of their birthday he waited outside the door of the sad twin and listened. All he could hear was grumbling,  the toys wouldn’t last, they’ll break, be soon out of date…

The father was disappointed with what he heard but accepted at last what he had been told so often by family and friends.

On the other hand however when he listened at the door of the happy twin he couldn’t believe his ears. He heard laughing and singing. He entered the room asking why his son was so happy and the boy replied he was looking for the horse that had left all the mess, with all the mess that had been left there must be one somewhere.

Of course the moral of the story is to look for the best and you’ll almost certainly be happy looking.


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There are a couple of Nation States that I find inspiring;
Firstly theres France.
France is a Nation of Payes (Pay-ee), a Nation who’s people are connected to the past, to the land, to tradition, local tradition. As a State its probably the best example in Europe of a State within the Union, pro-union but with a selfconfidence; remarkable. The best example of France’s connection to the land is the Salon de l’Agreculture. Its a farm show held in… Paris (no I’m not joking, it really is in the Capitol City). But its not like any farm show in the UK, its all produce, animals and food stalls (great food stalls actually), the €500k tractors are in a shed on the outskirts of the City well away from the real action. And the French farmers dont have any hang-ups about showing pictures of the food made from the living animal on show around the pen. In-fact the nearer to death the food is made the better. And not many would argue about the generally high quality of French food. If you’ve ever been to a French Town you’ll see the grocery supermarkets you find in any other European or US Town but you’ll also find family run butchers and bakers as well. The French know how to live and keep their identity, each region connected to the Terrain, keeping the old traditions alive through the food they produce, cook and eat.

Second there’s Israel.
A new Nation, a proud nation.
Unlike France it doesn’t have a food tradition but I’m inspired by the very nature of Israel’s existance. Against the odds they maintain (admittedly with massive US backing) their presence in a tougher than normal area. But you cannot ignor the facts, they took a barren desert and have turned it into a productive land with a more modern feel than many of the neighbouring states. All this in a shade more than 60 years and any number of military conflicts.

France = identity = inspiration
Israel = identity = inspiration

Being happy is catching

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I smile, in fact I smile a lot, as much as I can. It makes me feel better, a lot better actually just by making the effort even if I don’t really have a reason to be happy. And when I’m happy things tend to get a lot better.
Better at work, better at home, better when I’m relaxing, better when I’m not, in fact just better, what can I say?
To illustrate;
A story about a wise old man.
One day an old man was sat outside his house which is about half way between 2 large towns when a traveling salesman came by. The salesman seemed unhappy complaining that the towns people from where he had just come from were all miserable and didn’t purchase any of his goods. He asked the old man what the people of the next town were like. The old man told him they were much the same and not to expect to sell so much. The salesman went on his way. Later that same day another salesman came by in a very happy mood, he sang out loud as he walked. When he saw the old man he stopped to talk and offer to share some of his food asking if the people of the next town were just as friendly as the last? In the last town he had sold all his goods and had to purchase more for his journey through the area. The old man said that the people of the next town were much the same as the last and he should expect to do well.
Later that day the first salesman came back having sold nothing but thanking the old man for his wisdom in telling him that the people were all miserable. He went on his way without stopping. The second happy salesman came by later that week and stopped by the old man’s home. He had brought a gift to thank him for his wise words. He had sold out again.
Is this the power of happiness I ask?